An investigation has been launched into what a local prosecutor called a riot at the Lansing Correctional Facility.
Two inmates reportedly had minor injuries following the incident, which began Thursday afternoon. No prison staff members were injured, according to Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Randy Bowman.
Inmates took control of a medium-security cell house and occupied it for several hours before the facility was secured by KDOC personnel, according to Bowman.
“We’ve launched an investigation into what took place and what can be done moving forward to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday during a news conference.
The incident began around 3 p.m. Thursday. Kelly said a handful of inmates caused a disturbance when returning from their shower time and barricaded themselves in a cell house.
Following KDOC protocols, officers vacated the area to allow leadership at the prison to assemble appropriate personnel.
At about 11 p.m., members of KDOC Special Operations Response Teams from Lansing and Topeka entered and secured the cell house.
Kelly said an all clear was given around 2 a.m. after the scene was secured and inmates had been searched.
“All inmates are secured and accounted for,” she said during the news conference.
While in control of the cell house, inmates tore up many items including furniture and broke glass, according to Bowman.
One of the inmates who was injured received a cut on glass. The other injured inmate had medical issues stemming from pepper spray used by Kansas Department of Corrections personnel.
Bowman said 168 inmates were housed in the cell house. He estimated that 20 to 50 of the inmates were involved in the disturbance at times.
Bowman said all of the inmates from the cell house were moved into a new building. Bowman said they remained on lockdown Friday.
The inmates were moved to a building that is part of the newly constructed campus at the Lansing Correctional Facility. Bowman said they were moved from the old cell house, which he described as a mess following the incident.
Bowman said he did not know the motivation for starting the incident, but this will be part of the investigation.
Twelve inmates at LCF have tested positive for the coronavirus. Sixteen staff members at LCF also have tested positive for the virus, according to a KDOC website.
Speaking during the governor’s news conference Friday, KDOC Secretary Jeff Zmuda said the 12 inmates who have tested positive for the virus are in quarantine at the prison. Seven other inmates also are in quarantine for observation.
Zmuda said the quarantined inmates are not located in the cell house where Thursday’s incident took place. He said the inmates from the cell house that was the scene of Thursday’s incident had not shown symptoms of the virus.
Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said the investigation of the incident will have to be completed before the County Attorney’s Office can consider filing charges.
“Our office is saddened to hear about the riot that occurred at the Lansing Correctional Facility, but we were glad to hear no one was hurt,” Thompson said in a news release.